Mishawaka Marian brings Calumet's historic season to an abrupt halt
CALUMET TOWNSHIP -- History will look upon Calumet fondly when it comes to the 2020 season.
Mishawaka Marian did not.
The perennial Class 3A powerhouse showed the upstart Warriors their pedigrees, smashing their glass slipper in a 56-0 drubbing in Friday's regional.
"It's not just 48 minutes," Calumet coach Rich Good told his team. "Don't think of it as a singular game, but four years' worth of seasons. Wear that Warrior red with pride. Thank you for everything you've done. You've done something that's never been done before. Sometimes, things don't go the way you want them to go. That's life. We accomplished our goal. We just came up a little short of the big one."
Riding the high of their first sectional title, the Warriors (5-2) quickly came crashing back to earth. Marian (11-0) scored on its initial three possessions, using plus field position resulting from a short punt, an interception and fourth-and-1 stop at the 29 to build a 21-0 lead in the first 10:46.
"They came out very fast, strong, aggressive," Calumet's Mark Flores said. "We didn't come out how we wanted and it didn't turn out how we wanted."
The Knights would've led 28-0 after a quarter but Greg Atkinson's 58-yard punt return touchdown was wiped out when he was flagged for taunting after celebrating before crossed the goal line. He'd get another chance in the second quarter and housed a 42-yard return this time without any premature reaction. Maddux Bogunia-Bright's second TD pass with seven seconds left in the half made it 35-0.
"Are they that much better? Probably not, but when you don't prepare to win, that kind of thing happens," Good said. "We got too high. At this level, there are no bad teams. You all have to have a laser-like focus. Tuesday, we preached that we could still go out and make the season even more special. There are emotional highs and lows, and you need to control those to compete with the top teams in 3A. It's a learning lesson for the juniors, sophomores and freshmen. You've got to give a little more, commit yourself."
A running clock in the second half did little to slow Marian, which scored on a pick six and a fumble return on a kickoff to cap the rout.
"If we're going to emulate somebody, it's a team like this," Good said. "The things we wanted to do, they did better than we did. They're really good football team. This is their sixth consecutive year in the regional. It's my first regional appearance. A couple guys on the staff played in a regional and coached in a few, but for the most part, this was uncharted territory."
While Flores was scrambling practically every play on offense, he did manage to post a couple tackles for loss on defense and Jerell Johnson snagged an interception.
"A couple of the guys played for senior film," Flores said. "We wanted to show (colleges) we could play against a tough team. There's always room for improvement. I'll take this with me to the next level as I continue my career in college. I'm not sad or anything. It was a great experience, playing one of the best teams in Indiana."
Before his team headed to the locker room amid cheers from the home stands, Good thanked the seniors and encouraged all of the underclassmen to do the same.
"They set the bar higher," he said. "This is because of them and the group that came before them. Those are the guys we promised, that when they graduated, we would be there to give them their senior awards, and we're honoring that. The ups and downs, the tragedies and joys, that's what makes football the greatest game in the world. I couldn't be prouder."
Flores took solace in knowing the Warriors reached unparalleled heights, regardless of what was on the scoreboard on this particular night.
"It means a lot to me," he said. "It'll feel wonderful to come back and see that we made history in the school. We were the best team ever. It's a great feeling I'll carry on with me the rest of my life."
Calumet coach Rich Good talks to his team after its 56-0 loss to
undefeated Mishawaka Marian in a Class 3A regional Friday.
(Photo courtesy of Sam Beishuizen)